Independent merchants who work together on the high street could boost their sales by up to £30,000 annually, according to a new report from American Express.
According to the Value of Collaboration report, carried out by retail experts Conlumino, working together on activities including joint marketing campaigns, loyalty schemes and local events, could provide a sales uplift for independent businesses of almost £900 million nationally.
Independent wine merchants, like Hanging Ditch in Manchester, can benefit from working together with other local small firms.
The report also demonstrated that small merchants can make cost savings of up to £3,000 a year by helping each other out by minding each other’s shops, taking in deliveries, doing a bank run or providing loose change.
Almost three quarters of respondents to the survey said they already support each other in some way, and meet to discuss business challenges with their peers, comparing performance or looking at the trading environment.
Mark Roper, head of UK merchant services at American Express, said: “Whether it’s the local deli and off licence putting on a joint cheese and wine night, or an entire high street running a seasonal promotion, small merchants across the UK are clubbing together to improve their collective lot. It makes strong business sense, delivering tangible returns in terms of boosted sales and saved labour costs and it is a trend that is increasing. One in six respondents said they plan to collaborate more in the next year or so.”
Neil Saunders, managing director at Conlumino, said: “Collaboration between independent businesses can have huge financial benefits. This inevitably has a very positive impact on the economics of running an independent high street business. At a time when so much of retail is highly competitive it is fantastic to see how cooperation is creating sustainable success.”
Six out of 10 small business owners know at least half of the traders in the area, while a quarter know almost all of them, and recommend their customers to other local firms where appropriate.
Conlumino carried out 420 interviews with local small merchants across 14 UK locations in March 2014 to compile the report.